The polls are open. Here’s five legislative races to watch.

Election day voting began this morning when polls opened at 7. You can find your polling place online at the Division of Elections’ website and polls will be open until 8 p.m.

We expect to begin seeing results a little after 9 p.m. (results are a little delayed because Alaska is split over multiple time zones and all polls won’t be closed until then). According to the Division of Elections, 63,228 voters have already cast their ballots.

Counting schedule

Here’s a breakdown of when which ballots will be counted.

Nov. 6, 2018 – Election day votes, early ballots cast through Nov. 5 and first count of absentee ballots that have been logged/reviewed through Nov. 2.

Nov. 13, 2018 – Early ballots cast on Nov. 6, second count of absentee ballots were security checks are complete and first count of questioned ballots where security checks for an entire district have been completed.

Nov. 16, 2018 – Additional absentee ballots that include both full and partial counts, second round of questioned ballots.

Nov. 19 through Nov. 21, 2018 – Remaining absentee ballots, including overseas ballots received between 10 and 15 days after election, and remaining questioned ballots for districts not yet counted.


Still, it could be some time before we know the outcome of every race. Gov. Bill Walker wasn’t declared the winner by 6,223 votes out of nearly 280,000 cast until a whopping 10 days after polls closed in 2014.

In the meantime, here’s a quick rundown of some of the legislative races we’re keeping an eye on.

Senate District A

Pete Kelly, Republican*

Scott Kawasaki, Democrat

Really, this is the banner race of the Alaska Legislature. It pits far-right Republican Senate President Pete Kelly against Democratic Rep. Scott Kawasaki in a race that could upend the balance of power in the Senate. It’s also pretty much the only senate race considered to be competitive this time around (redistricting, yay!)

For a little history, Kelly hasn’t faced a particularly serious challenge in his last two elections: In 2012, he was aided by a friendly redistricting map (that the courts later ordered to be redrawn); and in 2014, he faced a first-time candidate with little backing. That’s all changed with a challenge by Kawasaki, who’s well-known for his tough campaigning and ability to raise campaign cash.

Like most districts in Alaska, there’s been a slight dip in party registration for both Republicans and Democrats in Senate district A but overall Democrats have lost a smaller percentage of the overall vote in the district (about 1.35 percent of the overall vote) than the Republicans (who’ve lost 2.24% of their share of overall voters).

Senate ATotalRepublicanDemocratLibertarianNonpartisan/UndeclaredOther

House District 1

Kathryn Dodge, Democrat

Bart LeBon, Republican

This race will decide who’ll fill the seat left behind by Kawasaki’s bid for the Senate. On the right, you have former banker Bart LeBon, a well-liked Republican, and on the left you have former Fairbanks North Star Borough Assemblywoman and presiding officer Kathryn Dodge, a moderate Democrat.

Republicans are hoping for a pick up here in a district they’ve long hoped to flip back after Kawasaki won election over Republican Jim Holm in 2006. With the seat open, this is their best chance in more than a decade. The political registration of Republicans and Democrats have both dipped slightly since the 2016 election when the seat was uncontested. The district went to Trump by about 600 votes.

House 1Registered VotersDemocratRepublicanLibertarianIndependenceNon-PartisanUndeclaredOther

House District 22

Jason Grenn, Independent*

Sara Rasmussen, Republican

Dustin Darden, Democrat

Rep. Jason Grenn is up for re-election after his first term in office saw him take a prized seat on the House Finance Committee, play a key role in resolving the state’s oil tax credit debacle and pass sweeping legislative ethics reform. It’d be a banner year for any legislator, yet the conservative-leaning district could prove tricky for the former Republican who caucused with Democrats.

Grenn’s facing Republican Sara Rasmussen, who won a contested primary against former Republican Rep. Liz Vazquez, and a sizable mountain of independent expenditure money. More than $179,700.27 has been spent targeting Grenn in total, though he’s mostly benefited from that money $133,354.75 supporting to $46,345.52 opposing.

Still, it’s not a sure thing thanks to the Anchorage perennial goofball candidate Dustin Darden with the potential to play spoiler.

House 22Registered VotersDemocratRepublicanLibertarianIndependenceNon-PartisanUndeclaredOther

House District 31

Paul Seaton, nonpartisan on the Democratic ticket

Sarah Vance, Republican

Rep. Paul Seaton was one of three Republicans who crossed party lines to caucus with Republicans (and in doing so landed the co-chair of the powerful House Finance Committee). That put him in the party’s sights, drawing threats and primary challengers. Seaton, unlike his fellow Musk Ox Republicans, decided to buck the entire party by dropping his affiliation and running instead for the nomination of the Alaska Democratic Party as a nonpartisan candidate.

Will that decision come back to bite him? Or will his name recognition carry the day? A loss here, would be a major setback the House bipartisan coalition.

HD 31Registered VotersDemocratRepublicanLibertarianIndependenceNon-PartisanUndeclaredOther

House District 34

Jerry Nankervis, Republican

Andi Story, Democrat

If you haven’t looked closely, you’d think that Juneau’s Mendenhall Valley district should be a safe Republican district. After all, Rep. Justin Parish won the seat only after the Republican holding the seat was caught writing letters asking for lenient sentences for the defendants in two child sex abuse cases.

But people on the ground suggest that the long Republican hold had more to do with Rep. Cathy Munoz than it did with the district’s leanings, which have shifted surprisingly little since 2016. It’s also the only race on this list that Hillary Clinton won in 2016.

If Story can pull out a win here, it’d be a significant win for Democrats and a boost to their chances of holding onto the House.

House 34Registered VotersDemocratRepublicanLibertarianIndependenceNon-PartisanUndeclaredOther

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